Nigeria has lost over N247.61b as the ban on micro-blogging site, Twitter extends even beyond 100 days.
100 days brings it to approximately 2,400 hours since Nigerians turned to VPN services to access the micro-blogging site.
Nigerian Federal government had, on June 5, indefinitely suspended the operations of Twitter for deleting a tweet by President Buhari.
Twitter had said it deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet for “violation of the company’s abusive behaviour policy.”
In anger, the Nigerian government suspended indefinitely the activities of the tech giant, denying Nigerians access to Twitter.
Nigeria, through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), ordered telecommunications companies in the country to block access to Twitter.
Confirming the directives, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria had said:
“We, The Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria wish to confirm that our members have received formal instructions from the Nigerian Communications Commission, the industry regulator, to suspend access to Twitter.”
“ALTON has conducted a robust assessment of the directive in accordance with internationally accepted principles.”
However, despite the ban, Nigerians, including some corporate bodies, turned to the Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to access Twitter.
But the government, again, warned that any corporate body found still using the platform would face penalties.
Although it said the warning was not against individual citizens, small and medium size businesses have been worst hit.
100 days after, the country’s economy continued to take a bearish dive as Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) can’t still use the platform.
Consequently, NetBlocks says the suspension costs Nigeria N103.17m ($250,600) every hour.
Since 100 days equals to approximately 2,400 hours, the loss, therefore, comes to a total of N247.61bn.
This means that in the last 100 days, Nigeria’s economic sector has lost over N246 billion to the suspension.
NetBlocks is a watchdog organization which monitors cybersecurity and governance of the Internet.
Small Businesses are worst hit:
The president of National Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMs), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, has said that small businesses are collapsing.
He said small businesses who operate online have lost millions of customers as a result of the ban.
“Many small businesses have collapsed and there are huge job losses after 100 days. We appeal to the government to have a rethink.
“With the COVID-19 Delta variant now escalating in the country, the government should not deprive people of access to social media, especially those who get their daily information from the platform. Some peoples’ lives are practically online, so, the government should not kill that space.
“We appeal to them to bring Twitter back as fast as possible so that the economy can bounce back as well.”
FG in talks with Twitter for resolution:
Meanwhile, the federal government has said it is in talks with Twitter for a mutual agreement on lifting the ban.
On August 19, Nigeria’s Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, said the ban may soon be lifted.
He said Twitter had agreed to meet the 10 demands that Nigeria wants from it so as to operate in the country.
Some of the demands includes for Twitter to register as a Nigerian company.
Also, that Twitter will start paying taxes from revenue it generates for operating in Nigeria.
Another demand is for Twitter to ensure that it deletes contents harmful to Nigeria’s corporate existence.
Mohammed said, already, Twitter has met seven out of the ten demands.
He disclosed this in an interview with big foreign media organisations.
“We believe that even the other three outstanding demands are not really about whether they agreed or not but about timing and scheduling. That is what gave me the confidence that we are getting nearer to an agreement.”
Boom in VPN use:
Although the ban on Twitter remains in place, Nigerians have long found a way to access Twitter through VPNs.
Consequently, there have become a great surge in VPN usage in Nigeria.
For instance, ExpressVPN has said that it recorded an increase of over 200 per cent in web traffic from Nigeria.
It said the traffic began coming in since the Federal Government banned Twitter.
Among other VPNs popular in Nigeria are NordVPN, surfshark, CyberGhost, PIA, etc.
What this implies is that Nigeria will keep losing billions as a result of the ban on Twitter.
Also, many Nigerians have lost their jobs as a result of small businesses folding up.
Additionally, the unemployment rate in Nigeria will keep surging higher because of this.
However, the ban can result in the creation of many jobs for Nigerians if Twitter establishes office here.
This is because, many Nigerians will be employed by the company.
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